‘Bernie Bros’ are real, and ignoring that doesn’t change anything.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not saying all Bernie Sanders supporters are “Bernie Bros.” Not even most. So, if that’s going to be the basis of your angry message to me, please just… just don’t. Okay? Okay. Moving on.
Earlier today, I read Glenn Greenwald’s piece at The Intercept about “Bernie Bros.” In it, he makes arguments against use of the term, calling it “an all-purpose, handy pro-Clinton smear.”
Here’s how it opens:
“The concoction of the ‘Bernie Bro’ narrative by pro-Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic — and a journalistic disgrace. It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall-Street-enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are ‘bros’); and (2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior.”
Now, I can’t speak for what other people experience or who they label “Bernie Bros.” What I do know is that whenever I’ve dared to tweet the words “Bernie Sanders” with anything less than my undying allegiance, my mentions are soon filled with Sanders supporters who feel the need to explain (“Bern-splain?” No, we really don’t need another “-splain” word) why what I said was wrong (or, rather, what I’m wrong about via the assumptions they’ve made about me).
The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer is credited with coining the phrase “Bernie Bro” in an October article, but the idea that some of his supporters are “bro-y” predates that, so to act as though this is some media creation is kind of disingenuous.
There is no one way to be a ‘Bernie Bro.’
Greenwald’s piece is filled with a bunch of faux-‘gotcha’ moments, pointing to examples where Bernie Bros were just being… well, bros… and not necessarily misogynistic.
The truth is that sometimes they’re just men (and women) who feel the need to come unwanted into your Twitter mentions or onto your Facebook wall to evangelize on behalf of Bernie (as though the information they’re constantly pushing has escaped me).
What makes them “bros?” I’ve always used the term to describe people who project their feelings, make assumptions, and aggressively argue based on said assumptions. Because that’s what this is: a whole lot of assumptions.
Not everyone who pushes back on Bernie Bros is a Hillary supporter.
I’m not. Knowing my views on various issues (pro-choice, pro-LGBT, higher taxes on the rich, yadda yadda yadda), you can draw (probably correctly) conclusions about which party I’ll be voting for in the general election. But when it comes to the primaries…
“Meh” is all I can muster. I live in Illinois. Odds are that the nominations will be all but decided by the time the primaries roll around to my state, so there’s no point in me getting all fired up for either candidate.
If your goal is to convince people to vote for Bernie Sanders, try a friendlier approach.
I tweeted that Donald Trump was being sexist. In response, I got accused of being a “Shillary” supporter (I roll my eyes sooooo hard whenever I see someone say that; it’s just like conservatives who’d go around saying “No-bama!”). I tweeted
Yep. Saying “Sanders supporters make me actively dislike Bernie Sanders by proxy” was an insult to this person. And so hey, I got called a “cunt.” Awesome.
So, whether you’re being called “Bernie Bros” or something else (Greenwald would pop in here to go, “THAT COMMENT CAME FROM A WOMAN THEREFORE THIS IS NOT A BERNIE BRO!”), just don’t be a jerk. Cool? Cool.